Bathtubs can take a lot of wear and tear over the years. This can leave them looking dull and worn, which isn’t exactly the most inviting appearance. While most homeowners assume that this can only be fixed with a remodel, bathtub refinishing may be a better choice. Here, we’ll go over how bathtub refinishing is done and some key insights on refinishing vs. remodeling.

How Does the Bathtub Refinishing Process Work?

While every bathtub is different, the refinishing process usually follows the same general steps. The caveat is that these steps can be completed much faster than a full remodel—usually in less than one or two business days! Bathtub refinishing involves the following eight steps:

Step 1: Strip the existing finish and remove any latex or silicone caulk from the bathtub. This process is crucial to creating a clean canvas for the refinishing procedure, which ensures optimal adhesion of the new coatings.

Step 2: Thoroughly clean the tub to eliminate oil, dirt, soap scum, and contaminants. Never skip the cleaning process! Establishing a pristine surface promotes better adherence in subsequent steps and contributes to the overall longevity of the newly applied finish.

Step 3: Acid etching is applied to the tub’s surface to degloss it. This chemical treatment essentially opens up the microscopic pores in your bathtub, allowing for full penetration of the topcoat. It helps deepen the bathtub refinishing process, so it’s not only completed superficially.

Step 4: Repair any visible imperfections from the bathtub. This includes holes, cracks, scratches, chips, signs of rust, and any other issues. Doing this helps ensure that the bathtub refinishing results in a smooth, flawless surface free from any blemishes or structural issues.

Step 5: Before the actual refinishing work begins, the room is prepared to minimize the mess. This involves covering nearby surfaces, utilizing construction containment measures, and ensuring the refinishing process is done with minimal disruption to your bathroom or nearby rooms.

Step 6: Two coats of an Epoxy resin primer are evenly sprayed onto the tub’s surface. The primer serves as a foundational layer, which helps enhance the durability and adherence of subsequent coatings. However, drying time between coats is essential to help achieve an even and well-bonded primer layer.

Step 7: For the (almost) final step, three coats of low VOC Poly-Glass High Gloss topcoat (an eco-friendly acrylic urethane coating) are applied in increments. Each coat will need to dry completely before the subsequent coat is applied to help create a strong, seamless finish that makes your bathtub look brand new.

Step 8: Let the topcoat cure for two hours, and that’s it!

When Should You Consider Bathtub Refinishing vs. Bathtub Renovation?

Most people assume that you need to schedule a bathtub renovation or remodel if you want to revitalize the structure, but that’s not always the case. Choosing between the two often depends on a variety of factors, including:

The Condition of the Bathtub — refinishing is great for bathtubs that need surface improvements, while remodeling may be better if you have serious structural damage.

Budget — bathtub refinishing is a much more cost-effective solution that achieves exceptional results.

Timeline and Convenience — getting your bathtub renovated or remodeled can take months while refinishing can be done in as little as 24 hours.

Environmental Impact — refreshing your bathtub with a new finish is a more eco-friendly option, especially when green materials are used.

Long-Term Goals — a refinish can refresh your space, but if you want to change the overall layout of the bathroom, a remodel is probably best.

To learn more about how bathtub refinishing can help you reclaim your bathroom, reach out to The Surface Doctors Inc. We excel in bathtub refinishing that makes your old tub look brand new. To schedule a consultation or receive a no-obligation assessment, contact us today.